1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-six


Date:  Tuesday, September 15.

Batting stars:  Randy Bush was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his ninth.  Sal Butera was 1-for-1 with a double.  Tim Laudner was 1-for-2 with a run.

Pitching star:  George Frazier pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Jack McDowell pitched seven shutout innings, giving up four hits and no walks with three strikeouts.  Donnie Hill was 3-for-3 with a triple, scoring three times and driving in two.  Harold Baines was 2-for-4 with two doubles, scoring once and driving in two.

The game:  There was no score until the fourth, when Greg Walker doubled home a run to put Chicago ahead 1-0.  Baines doubled in a run in the sixth and another run scored on a double play to make it 3-0.  The White Sox put it out of reach in the seventh on Hill's two-run triple and Baines' run-scoring double.  The Twins did not score, and didn't even have much of a threat, until the ninth, when Bush hit a two-run homer.

Of note:  Al Newman led off at second base, with Steve Lombardozzi on the bench...Bush batted second and was in right field, with Tom Brunansky in left and Dan Gladden on the bench...Kirby Puckett was 1-for-3 to keep his batting average at .327...Kent Hrbek returned to the lineup and went 0-for-4...Gene Larkin was the DH...Joe Niekro started and pitched six innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and no walks with three strikeouts...This was McDowell's first career start and his first career win.

Record:  The Twins were 77-69, in first place by 3.5 games.  Oakland defeated Texas 6-5 to move back into a second place tie with Kansas City, who lost to California 7-1.

Player profile:  Black Jack McDowell didn't have a long career, but he had six seasons when he was an excellent pitcher.  He was drafted by the White Sox with the fifth pick in 1987 and was a September call-up after just four AA starts.  He went 3-0, 1.94, 0.79 WHIP for Chicago that season.  He was in the White Sox' rotation in 1988 and while he obviously wasn't going to match those 1987 numbers, he did pretty well, going just 5-10 but with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP, not bad for a twenty-two-year-old rookie.  His season ended in August with a hip injury and he struggled with that injury all of 1989, making twenty starts, all in the minors.  He came back in 1990 to start a series of six fine major league seasons.  He made three all-star teams and finished in the top ten in Cy Young voting three times as well, winning the award in 1993.  He had a fine season that year, but his numbers were actually slightly better in 1992, when he finished second in Cy Young voting to Dennis Eckersley.  He led the league in complete games three times, in games started twice, and in shutouts once.  From 1991-93 he went 59-30 with an ERA of 3.32.  His last good year was 1995, when as a Yankee he went 15-10, 3.93, 1.33 WHIP with a league leading eight complete games.  He was only twenty-nine that season, and people expected him to remain a good pitcher for several more years.  He averaged 230 innings from 1990-95, however, and that may have caught up to him.  Whatever the reason was, he developed arm problems.  He made thirty starts for Cleveland in 1996 and went 13-9, but with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP.  He was clearly not the same pitcher and would not be again.  In fact, he made only twenty-four more starts over three more seasons, ending his career in 1999 with the Angels.  He has played guitar in a couple of bands.  More recently, he was a manager int he low minors for the Dodgers in 2014-15.  His career totals were 127-87, 3.85, 1.30 WHIP.  He'll never make the Hall of Fame, but he was certainly a top pitcher for a while.

Happy Birthday–February 26

Grover Alexander (1887)
Rip Collins (1896)
Preacher Roe (1916)
Johnny Blanchard (1933)
Don Lee (1934)
Hiromitsu Kadota (1948)
Jack Brohamer (1950)
Rick Wieters (1955)
Kelly Gruber (1962)
Scott Service (1967)
J. T. Snow (1968)
Mark DeRosa (1975)

Hiromitsu Kadota is third on the Japanese professional baseball home run list with 567.

The father of Matt Wieters, Rick Wieters pitched in the minor leagues for five years, reaching AA.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 26

1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-five


Date:  Monday, September 14.

Batting stars:  Don Baylor was 1-for-2 with two walks and a run.  Greg Gagne was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run.  Randy Bush was 1-for-1 with two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Roy Smith pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Dave LaPoint pitched 8.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and six walks with three strikeouts.  Greg Walker was 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs.  Ivan Calderon was 1-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-fifth) and two walks, scoring three times.

The game:  Calderon homered leading off the second to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.  Carlton Fisk and Walker led off the fourth with back-to-back doubles to make it 2-0.  Chicago took control in the fifth.  Their first two batters went out, but a single, a walk, and a single loaded the bases and Walker delivered a three-run double to make it 5-0.  The Twins did not score until the ninth, when three walks loaded the bases and Bush drove in two with a two-out single.

Of note:  Dan Gladden started the game in left field, but batted second, with Al Newman leading off and playing second base in place of Steve Lombardozzi...Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 to drop his average to .327...Gene Larkin again played first base, with Kent Hrbek again out of the lineup...Frank Viola started and pitched five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

Record:  The Twins were 77-68, in first place by 3.5 games over Kansas City, which overtook Oakland for second by beating California 8-5 while the Athletics lost to Texas 2-1 in eleven innings.

Player profile:  Ken Williams was the starting centerfielder for the White Sox, going 2-for-5.  He's best known now for his years as the Sox' general manager, but he actually had a substantial playing career.  He was drafted by Chicago in the third round in 1982, reached the majors as a September call-up in 1986, and was the White Sox' most-regular center fielder in 1987, starting 105 games there.  He had a decent season, batting .281 with 11 homers and 21 stolen bases.  He walked only 10 times, though, so his OBP was only .314.  He was only twenty-three, though, so he certainly looked like a good young player on the rise.  Instead, he never had a good year again.  He had a horrible 1988, batting just .159 in 220 at-bats and losing the center field job to Dave Gallagher.  He was traded to Detroit before the 1989 season, batted just .205 as a reserve, and was batting .133 in June of 1990, when he was waived and taken by Toronto.  He did little for them, too, and was waived again in June of 1991, this time claimed by Montreal.  He did okay for the Expos as a reserve, batting .271 (in 70 at-bats), but was released after the season.  He had a good year in AAA Denver (Milwaukee organization) in 1992, but he did not get a call-up and his playing career was over.  He became a scout for the White Sox after that and gradually worked his way up, holding various positions before becoming the general manager in November of 2000.  He left the GM job in 2012 and became the team's executive vice-president, a job he continues to hold.

Happy Birthday–February 24

Bob Bescher (1884)
Al Hollingsworth (1908)
Roy Weatherly (1915)
Monte Irvin (1919)
Andy Pafko (1921)
Syd Thrift (1929)
Johnny Schaive (1934)
Jerry Reinsdorf (1936)
Denny Lemaster (1939)
Danny Cater (1940)
Ron Santo (1940)
Stump Merrill (1944)
Ken Szotkeiwicz (1947)
Cesar Cedeno (1951)
Bob Brenly (1954)
Ken Dayley (1959)
Paul O'Neill (1963)
Shannon Stewart (1974)

Syd Thrift was the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1986-88 and of the Baltimore Orioles from 2000-02.  He also held a variety of other front office positions, generally having to do with overseeing minor league player development.

Infielder Johnny Schaive was in the Washington organization from 1955-1960, reaching the majors for parts of the 1958-1960 seasons.  He was selected by the new Washington franchise as the 36th pick in the 1960 expansion draft.

Jerry Reinsdorf became part-owner of the Chicago White Sox in 1981.

Stump Merrill was the manager of the New York Yankees from 1990-91.  A catcher, he was drafted by Minnesota in the twenty-third round in 1965, but did not sign.

Shortstop Ken Szotkiewicz was chosen by Minnesota with the third pick of the 1967 June Secondary draft, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 24

FMD: On The Road

I'll be driving a bunch today. I'll probably mostly just flip radio stations until I get frustrated and turn on MPR News. Wait. It's a member drive. Alright, I'll probably just get frustrated.

What do you listen to when travelling? Let's make a "recommended for the road" playlist?